Asher is the 8th son of Jacob by Leah’s maid, Zilpah. Like several of the patriarchs, there is a little personal history recorded for Asher. The word Asher in Hebrew means happy. Leah greatly rejoiced at his birth, so she called him Asher.
Genesis 30:13, “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.”
We know nothing of his childhood and early manhood, only that he grew up with his brethren and went to Egypt with the rest of the family. He had 4 sons and a daughter named Serah. These are the children which composed the tribe that bore his name, Asher.
1 Chronicles 7:30, “The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.”
The book of Chronicles mentioned that the tribe of Asher was spoken of as “choice and mighty men of valor,” and were “apt to war.”
1 Chronicles 7:40, “All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.”
When Israel gathered to make David king over Hebron, the tribe of Asher were also present. There were 40,000 of them that were “expert in war.”
1 Chronicles 12:36, “And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.”
The character of Asher is the most important thing for us to consider and since there is not much recorded about his personal history, let us just follow along the prophetic words of Jacob and Moses as our guide in determining his character.
The following words are Jacob’s blessings to Asher.
"Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties." Gen. 49:20.
Moses’ parting blessings to the tribes, he said,
"Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be." Deut. 33:24, 25.
It seems that Asher had an agreeable disposition because he was acceptable to his brethren.
Notice this line, “let him dip his foot in oil.” Some people get out of difficulty as if everything was oiled. Therefore, it makes their job easy in stepping out difficulties that others would fall under. They dip their feet in oil and pass smoothly over the rough times of life.
Asher received the following words as well.
Deuteronomy 33:25 “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
In ordinary life, the one who dips his foot in oil and apparently passes smoothly through the roughness of life receives little sympathy. Sympathy is usually extended to the one who does not have his feet oiled, therefore experiences all the roughness of the way. But God knows that the person who holds up his head and goes through life cheerfully, giving “royal dainties” of kind words of cheer to others, often in reality experiences heavier trials than the one who sighs and cries and complains due to the hard trials of the way. And to the kind of people like Asher is, God says “As thy days, so shall thy strength be." It means that God will give us strength sufficient to endure.
Isn’t it wonderful to dip the foot in oil? Oil represents the Holy Spirit. The one whose feet are anointed with the Spirit of God will pass over the rough places in life with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving. The feet of such a person is like iron and brass as Deuteronomy 33:25 and he will not sink amidst the pitfalls of life because he is assured by God, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
When the beloved disciple in his vision saw the Saviour officiating in the heavenly sanctuary, he wrote this description about the Saviour’s feet.
Rev. 1:15, "like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace."
Brass is only formed in the furnace, so when John saw the Saviour’s feet, he was reminded of the kind of fiery furnace of affliction that the Saviour had to go through.
There are some in the human family who are so close to the Saviour and had gone through the path that the Saviour had to pass when He was here on earth, with all those hardships and afflictions and such. These people have followed the footsteps of Christ.
1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
They are so imbued with the Spirit of God that their feet seemed like clad with brass.
So, 12,000 among the 144,000 living saints will be of the tribe of Asher. These are the ones who will dip their feet in oil and are so filled with the Spirit of God that they will let God smooth the rough places in their pathways. For them, mountains of difficulties will become as plains just like Zerubbabel.
Zechariah 4:6,7, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who [art] thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel [thou shalt become] a plain…” They will yield "royal dainties," words of cheer and comfort, that will encourage others by the way. It is going to be a blessing to learn how to dip our feet in oil and to learn to cultivate the character of Asher.
There is not much recorded about the tribe of Asher except him as a personal entity; however, we can find one noted character from this tribe. Her name is Anna. She was the one who had the honor of bearing the news about Christ’s birth to the faithful ones who were looking for redemption in Israel. She was a prophetess too.
Luke 2:36-38, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
Now, one sad thing about the tribe of Asher was their mingling with the heathens. They lived with Canaanites who were unbelievers. As a result, they were weakened. They were not like their former brethren who were strong men of war. The did not drive the heathen out of their land.
Judges 1:31-32, “But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.”
But though as a tribe they have departed from the Lord, there were among them who were honest and feared God. In the history of the ancient Israel, there was a time when Hezekiah invited all Israel to join the Passover feast in Jerusalem. But you know what happened, some of them were laughing at him and mocked him, but there were a few from the tribe of Asher who humbled themselves and joined the feast. We can read this recorded in
2 Chronicles 30:10-11, “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.”
It takes a lot of courage to be able to stand for the Lord when the masses are standing in rejecting the light of God’s words. That kind of faithfulness to God did not leave the tribe of Asher and when the Saviour was presented in the temple, 2 faithful ones recognized the babe the Redeemer, and one of them was Anna who was from the tribe of Asher.
This is a lesson for us dear brethren. Majority of the world is following the path that leads to destruction. Even those who are supposed to be in the truth are continually assailed by the enemy’s temptations and some of them have departed from the faith they once received. It is sad but true. The enemy of souls will attack whomsoever he will. He is compared to a roaring lion.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We cannot be caught off guard because our enemy is like a roaring lion. The Bible does not say he is like a sleeping lion. No, he is roaring. It means he is up, he is awake, and he is actively doing his job in deceiving souls. Our enemy does not sleep; he’s always awake. Now the question is, are we awake? Or are we alert all the time? Aren’t we sleeping in comfort and relaxing in our own self and not being watchful of the danger that is around us? Is there any habit that we have not overcome yet? Are we stuck with things of this world and the lust of the flesh? There are some from the tribes of Asher who are watchful and faithful. And this we have to follow if we want to be part of the 144000 living saints.